Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Teen Wolf Season 3 Episode 1: Tattoo

Isaac is confused and woozy – and has an injury on his chest and one on his neck. He is being dragged by a woman who uses a car battery to shock him awake. He’s still staggered and confused, not knowing what happened. She tells him that they claw the neck to share memories – and he doesn’t remember because they also do it to steal memories as well. She drags him to a bike and tells him to hold on as the drive off.

They drive off at speed, but Issac hears footsteps behind him, turning back there’re 2 figures in the mist running – and catching up with them. They actually overtakes them on the speeding bike and claw at the bike – both men look identical (the fabled twins we’ve heard so much about in the previews, I take it). Why do they keep hitting the metal part of the bike? It’d actually be easier to hit Isaac?

The chase continues until they hit a dead end and the two men – with red eyes like an Alpha – follow in the classic serial killer stalk (it doesn’t matter how fast you can move, when it comes to closing you simply have to slow down to a dramatic stalk. It’s a rule).  Unfortunately for them, the woman isn’t a helpless blonde woman in a horror story (if so, she would have to trip and fall when confronted with said stalk, it’s a rule as well). She turns the bike around and charges them as they pose for a dramatic leap – turning at the last instant before one twin smashes his hand into the tarmac where they would have been.

She drives them through a giant glass window (essential for any good dramatic chase) but Isaac starts to get woozy and lose consciousness, causing the bike to crash.

That was a pretty dramatic bike chase – extra points for the sparks and the awesome lighting.

The twins follow, stripping off their shits (ah  Teen Wolf, I missed you so)  and they… merge. Into one big Alpha, red eyes, claws and all. Wow that’s kind of… kinky… or disgusting. We could go with icky. Yes let’s go with icky.

It charges and the woman screams at Issac to get down and shoots it with a gun that fires an electrical charge, stunning the giant Alpha and making him switch back into the twins. When the light shows over, the twins have disappeared and she reminds Isaac she told him to hold on – and he passes out.

Away from all the action Scott is getting a tattoo – of 2 bands. An equals sign. No, really “=”. Even Stiles is bemused by him getting a tattoo like that that doesn’t mean anything beyond the fact Scott likes it. Scott goes ahead – and Stiles, having a needle issue, faints.

Driving off, Stiles nurses his sore head and Scott complains his tattoo burns – far more so than being stabbed repeatedly in the arm should. He takes off the bandage as it burns even more – in time for them to see his new tattoo fade and disappear. Werewolf healing vs body modification – werewolf healing wins. Which Stiles kinda thinks is a good thing since he hated it.

Lydia and Allison are in their own car driving out and giving us some recaps – apparently Jackson has moved to London – and reminding us of everyone’s relationship status (technically single). And coincidentally, Scott and Stiles pull up next to them at the red light, talking about Scott’s continued mooning after Allison and how they’ve been out of touch with each other. Scott gets to do that classic mournful teen-love stare thing that’s so sweet and/or makes you want to smack him upside the head. That could be just me. Both respond by trying to hide.

Stiles, being Stiles, decides to wind down the window so they can talk. Ah, yes, don’t we all have a friend we could cheerfully strangle at times? Lydia puts her foot down and drives off sharpish –because, as has been established, she’s a very intelligent woman.

There follows an almost slapstick depiction of teen angst. Despite it being a completely straight road with no turns, Scott says they can’t just follow Lydia and Allison, since it will look like they’re following. So Stiles stops. To which Allison decides they have to go back and talk to them. So Lydia stops.  So both cars are now stopped in the middle of the road, like some kind of modern art ode to teen angst.

And then a deer crashes through Lydia and Allison’s windscreen.

Awkward teenaged emotions called on account of suicidal venison! They run to see what happens and Lydia tells them she saw its eyes before it hit and it was crazy. I call shenanigans, bright though Lydia is, I won’t accept she is capable of reading deer emotions while it hurtles at her at great speed. Scott touches it and declares that it was scared – terrified even – and looks down the road to where the full moon hangs all ominous over the fog.

At the hospital Melissa McCall runs to Issac wheeled in on a hospital gurney – he tells her to forget him and check the girl. She does and the girl who was riding the motorbike keeps repeating she has to find the Alpha. Melissa asks why she wants Derek and the girl says not Derek – Scott McCall.

Next day and we get an insight into the new Scott McCall – he has a ton of books he’s actually read, he’s exercising (like anyone has his torso without regular exercise) and he’s even getting a word of the day. He’s all self-improving.

Allison is starting her day with some moping and her dad, Chris, offering for her to take some time off school to adapt.

And Stiles looks up car accidents involving deer while his dad tries to make him go to school. After refusing to beg, giving up on bribes and accepting he doesn’t have anything to extort him with, he physically pulls Stiles’s chair away.

Lydia starts her day by gussying up and walking away from the extremely hot man in her bed. Lydia has the best morning routine.

In school Scott notices 2 big expensive motorbikes (will become relevant – but since they’re identical and people like a theme I’m assuming they belong to the Twins), we see missing persons pictures of Boyd and Erica (explaining away their absence) and Scott wants to ask Derek how he got his triskele tattoo to stick. And they seem to have a new headmaster who is astonished at the damage caused last term – and the great big sword in his office. And Lydia is checking out all the freshmen (and artfully skewering Allison’s “it’s ok to be single” speech). Her eye is caught but… the Twins. There’s a distraction for you

In the hospital the twins are so distracting that the girl-who-really-needs-a-name wakes up. And Melissa examines Isaac’s wound and sees them closing visibly in front of her, which is going to be a problem considering he’s scheduled for surgery. Outside Sherriff Stilinsky (Stiles’s long suffering father) wants to know when he can talk to the girl about all the stuff she broke and the nifty stun gun she was carrying but Melissa says she’s sedated – we see the girl, conscious, holding her drip and letting the sedative flow down her arm not in it.

We need more teen angst! To Allison at school and the only seat left in class is one directly in front of Scott! The horror! And the new teacher gets their attention by mass texting them a line from a book they’ll be reading.

Um… is it just me or is it creepy that the teacher knows everyone’s phone number?

But Scott turning his phone off also means he’s not available to take the emergency call from his mother trying to find someone to help her sneak Isaac out of the building. And in the hospital a new suspicious looking nurse (we can tell the camera follows her) goes into Isaac’s room to dose him up with anaesthetic – and she has claws and red Alpha eyes.

Melissa eventually calls the school so Scott finally gets called out, though his teacher lectures him on attendance as well. And at the hospital, wolfy nurse finds the motorbike girl (these people need names!) has disappeared – leaving the deputy outside cuffed to her bed.

Rather than following that drama, we have to have Stiles staring at Lydia’s legs and noticing that she has a bandage – where her dog but her. Something she’s never done before. This is relevant because the cast are drawing attention to it so it must be. Stiles obsesses a little over it – dog bites girl, this is not news! And not the same as suicide venison! Lydia points out it means nothing signs come in threes

Oh you did not. You did not just say that

SPLAT, the window is redecorated in blood splatter. It’s a bird – one of an entire Hitchcock movie worth that batter themselves in a vast wave against the windows, attacking the students who cower on the floor being pecked and clawed

Ok, I call shenanigans. Huge deer charging a car – I will take that as sign one. Vast wave of birds bombarding a school – definitely a sign. Irate Pomeranian? Not a sign. That’s a really weak sign.

In the aftermath, no-one seems injured but there are dead birds everywhere.

In the hospital, Melissa reminds us how well Scott is doing turning everything around, and he heads to the second floor with a blind man in the lift who has “Alpha in disguise” tattooed on his forehead. The man delays Scott asking for help

And Isaac goes into surgery – then is kicked out of surgery for being perfectly fine – to be wheeled out by yet another werewolf, complete with easy-identifiable claws. Scott spits the guy wheeling Isaac into a lift and draws his own clothes for a flying leap just as the doors close.

The wolf fight doesn’t go well for Scott, the man he’s fighting is an Alpha and Scott gets battered against every flat surface – until the lift doors open and Alpha guy gets stabbed in the back by Derek – also an Alpha.

To the school while Stiles plucks a feather from their teacher – Ms. Blake’s hair – she’s utterly traumatised – clearly not from round these parts – and Chris Argent tells Allison she should have stayed home. Sherriff Stilinski asks if Argent’s seen anything like it – being an “experienced hunter” and all. Argent assures him he doesn’t hunt any more.

Stiles calls Scott to let him know about the situation, but Scott is at Derek’s house with Isaac. They’re there because a werewolf needs something special to heal a wound from an Alpha on the inside. Scott asks what’s going on and Derek just tells him it’s a rival pack – and his problem. He thanks Scott for his help but tells him to go home and back to being a teenager

I kind of agree with this but also think it would have been better to come to this revelation before he started recruiting in the local high school. Scott also decides what with life and death and all, now’s the time to ask about the tattoo thing

At school, Lydia’s taking the whole murderous birds and angry toy dogs thing in her stride when the-Girl-who-rode-a-motorbike-and-left-the-hospital-and-totally-needs-a-damn-name arrives asking Allison about Scott. When Allison hesitates she grabs her and Lydia’s arm – only backing off when she sees the Twins behind them. She grabbed them both so hard she left bruises. Chris Argent arrives to take them both home and reminds Allison of an agreement they have – they’re staying out of the supernatural.

Sherriff Stilinksi goes to see the vet, Dr. Deaton because apparently animals all over are losing it, being aggressive et al. But Dr. Deaton has no idea what’s happening – including a room full of animals in cages that had killed themselves. Including cats. That’s it, you can torture teenagers but killing cats? Definitely on my shit list

Back at casa del Derek, Scott explains his tattoo needs – it becomes clearer that the symbol, the two bands, mean more to him than just feels cool and that getting a tattoo means something to him in general and, that year, it was a symbol of how he managed to avoid contacting Allison all summer. Fine, Derek can do it – but the pain will be worse than anything he’d ever felt – and he pulls out a blow torch. And Stiles doesn’t get to leave, he gets to help hold him down (would that make a difference? Stiles isn’t exactly strong enough to pin a werewolf).  This involves burning the tattoo out of his arm. Nice.

He wakes up to realise the blowtorch has worked, he has his two stripes that were totally worth agonising pain, uh-huh. Scott – Henna.  He wants something permanent because so much has changed so fast. And he’s really overusing his word of the day. But as he leaves he sees the door has been painted – the door to a ruined house. And only on one hand. Scot grows claws and shreds off the paint – to see the Alphas’ challenge underneath. He connects the omens to when he was bitten by the Alpha and asks Derek how many are there. Derek tells him there’s a pack – an Alpha pack. They’re ruled by a leader – Deucalion.  And they have Boyd and Erica- and he’ll need all the help he can get to bring them down. Which is when Isaac wakes up and asks where The Girl is.

And at school, That Girl (who still needs a name) seems to be a dab hand with improvised weapons. A whole pack of Alphas come into the changing room with her and she fights them, but is brought down. We see a clawed man put sunglasses over his red tinted eyes – the sclera of his eyes are red not the iris. Presumably, Deucalion. It’s the blind man from the lift in the hospital.

She tells Deucalion that she knows he’s afraid of him – of the man he’ll become (presumably Scott). He says he’s going to get someone else to eliminate the threat – to which The Girl says “Derek” and he claws her – presumably fatally.

At Allison’s, Lydia and Allison are considering decorating colours but when they raise their arms, the bruises together form a symbol with four large arrows and 2 small. The camera fades to the same symbol on the floor where it looks like 2 people are being cowering in a corner (possibly Boyd and Erica).

You have my attention.

This is largely my impression of the first episode. Just about everyone who matters seems to be in on the secret. We have no false antagonism between the Argents and Scott. We have no antagonism between Derek and Scott. Scott seems to have matured a lot but I’m sure we’re going to get regular doses of angsty teen mooning and Stiles and Lydia are still quite fun from the little we’ve seen of them. We’re set up, this looks interesting.

What doesn’t look interesting is The Girl, yes the nameless girl. Teen Wolf doesn’t have a great record with POC (or women and minorities in general for that matter), with all of the previous Black characters being very minor roles, to bring in what seems to be a very active, capable Black female character with some potential, setting her up to be central to the plot – then killing her without even a name in the first episode is dubious at least. Maybe she’ll live, I mean I can’t be sure she’s dead – but it doesn’t look promising.